North Dakota Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan may not have been a household name, but he has been an asset in the House and Senate for the past 30 years, and the announcement of his plan to retire is, therefore, a sad moment for those who believe in progressive change.
Never a seeker of fame or notoriety, Dorgan was one of the many political leaders who worked hard every day, dedicated to the causes he believed in, and often overlooked by the mainstream media, but making his contribution to change.
As head of the Indian Affairs Committee in the Senate, Dorgan has been a champion of health care reform for native Americans, and is one of their major supporters on other kinds of issues.
So therefore, his leaving creates a gap that hopefully another Democrat can fill, although there are no obvious candidates for the seat other than Congressman Earl Pomeroy, the state’s lone member of the House, who will likely have to fight the GOP governor John Hoeven, the country’s longest serving governor other than Texas governor Rick Perry. Pomeroy has been in the House since 1992 and is a full ten years younger than the retiring Dorgan.
Suddenly, this race is wide open, which would probably not have been if Dorgan has sought reelection. It will need a lot of watching by political pros trying to figure out the future balance of power in the US Senate.